In the 2020 Christmas card writing challenge, Celia scooped gold in the local heat. I am claiming silver, and Helen downstairs was hoping for bronze, but she may have lost to Viv as there was a delivered-by-hand card from her when I got home. Maybe there’s another few categories; not only written but posted or popped through the recipients’ letterboxes. I have posted all those requiring stamps, sent or scheduled the ecards, but I thought I’d wait a week before delivering the ones by hand.
Also underway is the present wrapping. MasterB enjoys this. He particularly enjoys sitting on the wrapping paper and customising it with his claws. I see he has customised Charlie’s wrapped present too. I am learning to be sneaky, to wait until he is asleep under the bed, for a more productive wrapping session. I think I have bought all the gifts I need to buy. Gradually the list has got shorter as mutual agreements are made with friends that we shall bypass this particular ritual. These are mainly friends who live at a distance requiring trips to the post office for the dispatch of parcels. As the price of postage has gone up and up it was becoming as expensive as some of the gifts. The gifts have also gradually become more modest. At one point we seemed to be exchanging higher and higher costing presents. Nothing was said, but by some silent accord we have drawn back. Now it’s a book, a bar of good soap, a scented candle, a pretty notebook. Something on those lines.
From some conversations overheard yesterday on the busiest bus I have been on since February I gather not everyone is of the same mind. One woman seemed to be intent on buying truckloads of gifts for various family members. I assumed for much of the conversation they were children until she said something about someone’s job. Well, she seemed happy, one of those whose hunter gatherer instincts have been sublimated into shopping. The prospect of spending time in hot shops does not appeal. You leave the cold of the street for an interior where the staff are in short sleeves and the heating is turned up to the maximum. No one offers to take your coat, scarf or wooly hat. And that’s before even considering the risk of contracting Covid.
I was in a branch of M&S last week. Our local M&S is always quite cool. This one was scorching. I wasn’t there for long, but with my mask on as well, it was too long. I stayed warm, too warm for a long time afterwards. And I didn’t even manage to get the slippers I wanted. I had an e gift card. I couldn’t get it to open. In the end, hot, and desperate for fresh air I abandoned the attempt. Luckily, my own little M&S happened to have the slippers which they don’t normally stock as someone who had ordered them had got the wrong size. My size. The ecard worked. When I told the assistant about my troubles earlier, she said it was always happening in the larger branches. Something to feed back to M&S HQ. In the meantime my on hunter gatherer instincts were satisfied.
I’ve started reading Robert Harris’ Enigma, and this novel has gripped me from the first page.So now I am going to stop writing here, pour myself a glass of red, and get on with the next chapter. The wrapping can wait.
Stay safe. Keep well.